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AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (WA)
The Australian Medical Association (WA) has welcomed the State Government’s commitment to stronger legislative action to cut smoking rates.
“It is appropriate and exciting to see one of the first pieces of legislation to be introduced into State Parliament by the new government relates to public health, with a renewed push to cut smoking,” AMA (WA) President Dr Omar Khorshid said.
“Western Australia has traditionally led the nation in steps to make smoking history, but has dropped the ball in recent years. It is disappointing that WA has become a follower not a leader on this key public health issue.
“More than 1,500 West Australians die from avoidable tobacco-related illnesses every year. We must never give up in our efforts to stamp out smoking completely.
“It is especially exciting to see WA now set to become the first state in Australia to make it illegal for children (under 18 years) to sell tobacco products in retail outlets,” Dr Khorshid said.
“Most of these recommendations were made to the Barnett Government as far back as 2011 and it’s about time action has been taken.
“The AMA (WA) has fought long and hard for strong anti-smoking legislation and it has been frustrating and embarrassing to watch other states not only match but pass us in this area,” Dr Khorshid said.
“Measures to ban specialist tobacco retailers displaying tobacco products, as well as a ban on confectionary or fruit-flavoured cigarettes are also welcomed.
“West Australians are living healthier and longer lives thanks to the hard work of successive governments on this issue. The pressure, which had fallen away recently, is now set to return.
“Just in the last fortnight we have seen the first data suggesting that smoking rates were, incredibly, starting to trend up. These promised laws are therefore even more welcome.
“On behalf of all West Australians, I call on the WA Parliament to act as quickly as possible on these reforms and to make them law without them getting bogged down in the Committee system in the Legislative Council.
“The AMA (WA) will be meeting with the Minister for Health to discuss these legislative measures and the next steps required to making smoking history in our State,” Dr Khorshid said.